Sight, the workhorse of the five senses, puts in too many hours keeping man from falling in manholes. Reward the most overworked sense with today's Groupon: for $45, new members get a one-year household contributor membership to the Menil Collection (a $100 value).
The Menil displays and protects the lifetime acquisitions of French expatriates and storied philanthropists John and Dominique de Menil. The de Menils hoped that opening their personal collection to the public would engender respect and love for all art and the human capacity to create and express itself.
Under the ultra-modernist roof of the Menil, statues, masks, paintings, pottery, and an endless list of treasures stretching from ancient Greece through medieval ages, hailing from Africa and even the Pacific Northwest, mingle and stand ready for admiration and well-phrased compliments. In addition to its permanent pieces, the Menil hosts a variety of traveling and special exhibits, including a showcase of Civil Rights–era photographs and the masks and amulets of Upside Down: Arctic Realities.
Though the museum never charges admission, membership comes with a long list of perks, including invitations to all exhibition previews for your entire household, invitations to lectures and special programs, and a 10% discount in the museum bookstore. And, because the Menil is a member of NARM, members are entitled to free admission and museum-store discounts at hundreds of museums across the country. Groupon purchasers will also get a new-members reception with museum director Josef Helfenstein and members of the Menil board of trustees. Aside from experiencing a year filled with enlightening erudition, you'll also come away with a passion for art so profound, you'll save all your soup cans and frame all your old grade-school finger-paintings.
The Menil Collection
John and Dominique de Menil began collecting art in the 1940s, shortly after they had relocated from France to the United States. It didn't take long for the couple to amass nearly 16,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, and rare books. Tired of tripping over Byzantine statues on the way to the kitchen, the de Menils decided to share their collection with the world.
The result is The Menil Collection, which opened in 1987 and has since become a fixture of Houston's Museum District. Here, visitors can browse priceless artworks and artifacts with origins that span the globe. With its minimalistic exterior and sweeping stretches of glass, the building itself is also something of a masterpiece. This is no accident—Dominque de Menil made sure that its design allowed for plenty of natural light to enhance visitors' experience and help the artworks grow big and strong.